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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:24 pm 
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It makes it look alot worse when your system is low on talent, where other teams can make up for a prospect failing because there is another prospect that might be ready in another year or 2

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:18 am 
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PirateParrot wrote:
Yes, obviously they will continue to build and hopefully finally stock their system. That, however, doesn't mean they want one of their 3 prime prospects they CURRENTLY have to only be a platoon player. The plight of their farm system is well documented, but these three were supposed to be guys you could count on being every day guys. Actually it was Pearce, if any of them, that some thought might not be an every day player.


Of course you don't WANT Walker to be a platoon player, but if that's all he is there is nothing you can do about it. Look at his strengths and weaknesses and use him in a way that takes advantage of the former and avoids the latter. In any case, he's only 22 years old. There is plenty of time for his hitting against lefties to develop. All of the high school players drafted ahead of him are trying to prove they can hit AA pitching or worse right now.

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As for the teams of the early 90's...They were well managed, both on and off the field. In addition to what they had in their own system they were able to acquire excellent talent. Van Slyke, Bonilla, King, Bell, Drabek, Smiley, etc. weren't exactly chopped liver. None maybe were superstars(Drabek for a while was) but they were all well above average players. I'm not arguing the effectiveness of the platoons on those teams, just stating that the other guys were pretty darn good players too. So I agree that the Pirates of today can't just bank on those 3 guys but I still contend they aren't in any position right now to have them be platoon guys either.


I did not say that the current Pirates team is comparable to the teams of the early 90's. I merely pointed out that the team of the early '90s was built around one homegrown glove, one homegrown bat, and one homegrown platoon first baseman who didn't even hit well enough to play first as a platoon player. This team is more like the '86 team, except Bonds was already up. In other words, the players on the next good Bucco team probably aren't even in the organization yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:21 am 
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PirateParrot wrote:
Willton wrote:
I don't think any team would want one of their three top prospects to be less than a full-time starter, but sometimes sh** happens and you just have to roll with it. Walker would not be the first highly-ranked prospect to not meet expectations (See, e.g. Marte, Andy). There are certainly worse situations than Walker ending up on the left-hand side of a platoon at 3B.


No arguement on that. I also give you the "Walk on Water" Chad Hermansen. I thought the original intent of this thread was the disappointment in Walker's hitting thus far. I'm only pointing out that it will be a blow to a team as porous as the Pirates if one of their current 3 top prospects only turns out to be a platoon guy.

Wilton wrote:
I'm sure the Pirates brass will allow Walker the opportunity to be a starter, but if he can't do it, forcing him to be full-time is probably a bad idea if the Bucs can avoid it.


Again no argument here. Can't make a guy what he ain't! But it still would be a huge disappointment for a team that desperately needs some good fortune.


The thing about Walker that is disappointing is that he proved he couldn't cut it behind the plate defensively. I doubt he'd have gone in the first round if he hadn't been a catcher. He may not have the bat to be an every day third baseman whatever his platoon stats may be.

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:14 am 
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sisyphus wrote:
PirateParrot wrote:
Willton wrote:
I don't think any team would want one of their three top prospects to be less than a full-time starter, but sometimes sh** happens and you just have to roll with it. Walker would not be the first highly-ranked prospect to not meet expectations (See, e.g. Marte, Andy). There are certainly worse situations than Walker ending up on the left-hand side of a platoon at 3B.


No arguement on that. I also give you the "Walk on Water" Chad Hermansen. I thought the original intent of this thread was the disappointment in Walker's hitting thus far. I'm only pointing out that it will be a blow to a team as porous as the Pirates if one of their current 3 top prospects only turns out to be a platoon guy.

Wilton wrote:
I'm sure the Pirates brass will allow Walker the opportunity to be a starter, but if he can't do it, forcing him to be full-time is probably a bad idea if the Bucs can avoid it.


Again no argument here. Can't make a guy what he ain't! But it still would be a huge disappointment for a team that desperately needs some good fortune.


The thing about Walker that is disappointing is that he proved he couldn't cut it behind the plate defensively. I doubt he'd have gone in the first round if he hadn't been a catcher. He may not have the bat to be an every day third baseman whatever his platoon stats may be.


Did he have an adequate chance to prove he "couldn't cut it behind the plate"? They've given Doumit, Paulino plenty of chances INTO their major league careers time to do that.

I think it was a case that Littlefield and his boys thought they had a franchise catcher in Paulino, so they moved Walker. Mistake No. 15,616 of the Littlefied administration.


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:11 pm 
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Mayor Mystery wrote:
Did he have an adequate chance to prove he "couldn't cut it behind the plate"? They've given Doumit, Paulino plenty of chances INTO their major league careers time to do that.

I think it was a case that Littlefield and his boys thought they had a franchise catcher in Paulino, so they moved Walker. Mistake No. 15,616 of the Littlefied administration.


Yes, he had more than enough time to prove he couldn't catch. Every evaluation of his defense that I saw rated him as awful. And that's after three full seasons behind the plate.

But go ahead and blame it on Littlefield if it makes you feel better.

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:31 pm 
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Littlefield has made plenty of mistakes, but I don't think moving Walker out of the catcher's position was one of them. I think it may have been possible to move him to a more demanding position, like 2B, but I'm no talent evaluator.

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 7:03 pm 
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Willton wrote:
Littlefield has made plenty of mistakes, but I don't think moving Walker out of the catcher's position was one of them. I think it may have been possible to move him to a more demanding position, like 2B, but I'm no talent evaluator.


Was it Littlefield who decided or the Pirates Minor League staff?

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 1:55 am 
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nad69dan wrote:
Willton wrote:
Littlefield has made plenty of mistakes, but I don't think moving Walker out of the catcher's position was one of them. I think it may have been possible to move him to a more demanding position, like 2B, but I'm no talent evaluator.


Was it Littlefield who decided or the Pirates Minor League staff?


Great question. But the Pirates minor league staff answered to Littlefied so I don't think that frees him.


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 8:42 am 
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nad69dan wrote:
Willton wrote:
Littlefield has made plenty of mistakes, but I don't think moving Walker out of the catcher's position was one of them. I think it may have been possible to move him to a more demanding position, like 2B, but I'm no talent evaluator.


Was it Littlefield who decided or the Pirates Minor League staff?


There is no way the minor league staff decided to move a number one draft pick on its own. It was Littlefield's decision.

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 8:42 am 
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Zane41 wrote:
nad69dan wrote:
Willton wrote:
Littlefield has made plenty of mistakes, but I don't think moving Walker out of the catcher's position was one of them. I think it may have been possible to move him to a more demanding position, like 2B, but I'm no talent evaluator.


Was it Littlefield who decided or the Pirates Minor League staff?


Great question. But the Pirates minor league staff answered to Littlefied so I don't think that frees him.


Frees him from what? Recognizing that Walker was a lousy catcher?

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 8:49 am 
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sisyphus wrote:

Frees him from what? Recognizing that Walker was a lousy catcher?



Moving Walker to 3rd base was not the mistake. By all accounts, he was not good enough to catch. Or, to look at it another way, his defense was so far behind his offense, he would not have made it to the big leagues.

Where the mistake was made was not realizing this before the draft. A third baseman with his offense is probably not a first round pick, and almost certainly not a top 15 pick, whereas a catcher with that same offense very well could be, simply because it is so much harder to get offense from that position. It would have been nice had they recognized Walker wouldn't be a catcher before the draft.

Of course, I am saying that in hindsight. I have no clue what the scouting reports said of his defense while he was still playing at Pine-Richland.


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 9:03 am 
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BBF wrote:
I have no clue what the scouting reports said of his defense while he was still playing at Pine-Richland.


If I remember correctly, the consensus among ML teams was that Walker was a first round pick and that he would be a catcher. It wasn't like the decision to draft Van Benschoten as a pitcher, where most teams thought he'd be better as a first baseman. Walker's defense just didn't develop as projected.

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 9:41 am 
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sisyphus wrote:

If I remember correctly, the consensus among ML teams was that Walker was a first round pick and that he would be a catcher. It wasn't like the decision to draft Van Benschoten as a pitcher, where most teams thought he'd be better as a first baseman. Walker's defense just didn't develop as projected.


Fair enough. If that is the case, then I can not fault the Pirates for drafting him, nor can I fault them for moving him to third when it became apparent that he wouldn't be able to catch.

This is just one we have to chalk up to the difficulties of drafting players from high school to play such an intricate game.


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 10:24 am 
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I find the criticism of Walker's catching to be somewhat humorous, given what folks put up with from Doumit. Doumit was much worse defensively than Walker, though mostly due to injury. That he and Paulino performed well enough to be MLB players, is why Walker was moved.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 10:29 am 
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I agree ZM. Both of our big league catchers have been pretty darn bad behind the plate.


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 10:30 am 
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ZelieMike wrote:
That he and Paulino performed well enough to be MLB players, is why Walker was moved.

ZM


I can't say that that is or is not the case, but I can say that it was adamantly denied by the previous administration. I think we had this debate before on the old board. By the way, does that make the original board the old old board? And those who were posting on the old old board, are we old old members?


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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 10:47 am 
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Well, that would certainly make me old^3.

BTW, I'm ticked off that you took the idiot tag from me.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 7:18 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
I find the criticism of Walker's catching to be somewhat humorous, given what folks put up with from Doumit. Doumit was much worse defensively than Walker, though mostly due to injury. That he and Paulino performed well enough to be MLB players, is why Walker was moved.

ZM

How do you know that Doumit was worse defensively than Walker?

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm 
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Mayor Mystery wrote:
I agree ZM. Both of our big league catchers have been pretty darn bad behind the plate.

Yep. And how many times have you seen Walker catch?

Assume for a moment that you have three catching prospects, all suspect defensively. One can't play any other position because he's too slow. One might be able to handle first base or a corner outfield spot. One is a former shortstop who might be suited for third base. Which one do you move?

The answer should be obvious.

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 Post subject: Re: Neil Walker issue
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 8:08 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
I find the criticism of Walker's catching to be somewhat humorous, given what folks put up with from Doumit. ZM


This point is valid. But one thing that I have noted, twice already, is that Doumit is noticeably better behind the plate this year, as compared to last.

He made a lot of improvement in just one season. If he keeps up this progress (and he seems the kind of guy to keep working), then he will be just fine defensively next year - without considering that he is a switch hitter with power.


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